Carpenter v. United States: Building a Property-Based Fourth Amendment Approach to Digital Data

By Melody J. Brannon

In the United States, there are more cell phones than people. These cell phones can track our every movement, continuously and with increasing precision, even when we are not using them. That is powerful information. Until Carpenter v. United States, 138 S. Ct. 2206 (2018), was decided, the police could get this information without a warrant, and they did so frequently. In the first six months of 2018, one phone service provider reported over 32,000 requests for historical cell site location information.

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